Vacation Makeup Essentials: Beauty Musts for Your Packing List

It’s near impossible to find a downside to vacations. If we had to name one, though, it’s that it’s just not practical to bring your entire beauty arsenal with you. Instead, put together some beauty essentials in a convenient travel makeup kit. Even if you plan to stay pretty natural during your vacation, it’s always nice to have some basics on hand for those unexpected moments.

Travel Makeup Must-Haves

Holographic makeup bag

Whether you’re roaming near or far, choose key pieces like the following for an all-inclusive, travel-friendly beauty kit.

Remember: if you plan to fly, make sure any liquid makeup products are in allowable sample or travel sizes.

On the Go Glam Bag

Unless you want to risk ruining everything in your luggage, you’ll need a handy makeup bag to hold your travel beauty kit. Ideally, your bag should be just big enough to hold what you need, but not so big that it takes up unnecessary space.

If you’re not sure what kind or size of makeup bag to get, the Scott Barnes Holographic Makeup Bag is a sturdy option designed to hold all the essentials. The bag is big enough to hold the entire Scott Barnes brush collection, so you’ll have no problem fitting your travel makeup in this one!


No skincare step is more important than protecting your skin in the first place. Even if you’re not going to the Bahamas or don’t plan to spend much time outside, you should always, always apply UV protection.

A facial sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF offers protection while leaving a nice base for makeup. An SPF lip balm is also a great idea. If you expect to swim or sweat, choose a waterproof/sweatproof formula accordingly.

Tinted Moisturizer or CC Cream

Depending on where you’re going and what you’re going to be doing on your vacation, your typical foundation routine might not be ideal. To simplify the process and avoid that “melting” feeling, swap in a thin layer of tinted moisturizer or CC cream. A corrective face cream with light coverage will help even out your complexion for a natural-looking, worry-free base.


For redness and blemishes that need a little more coverage, have a good concealer on hand. If you’re flying and don’t want the extra cost of checking bags, a liquid concealer will need to follow container size regulations. A creamy stick concealer may be more likely to pass as solid, but it’s a good idea to pack small just in case.


You’ll also want a powder in your kit to help set your makeup and eliminate shine. A pressed powder is best for travel for a few reasons: it’s more compact, it’s less likely to spill in transport, and it’s easier for flying with carry-on bags. Loose powder beauty products are regulated like liquid ones are.


Even if catching a tan is part of your vacation agenda, a bronzer can give you that golden, glowing-from-within look that slays in selfies. A pressed powder compact saves space and is easy to grab for quick contour and warmth. For a full body sun-kissed look, don’t leave home without a shimmery bronzing lotion like Scott Barnes Body Bling or Soleil Bronzer.


A good set of brows helps to frame the eyes and gives the rest of your makeup a beautifully polished look. When traveling, toss a travel size brow mascara, eyebrow pencil, or cream brow filler into your makeup bag. For a more natural look, pack a clear brow-fixing gel or wax. Even without any other makeup, you can rest assured that your eyebrows will look fantastic in vacation photos.

On the Go Eyeshadow

Unless you actually like digging around in an overstuffed bag for individual shadows (in which case we recommend your next trip be to a psychiatrist or professional organizer), the best idea is to have one good, versatile eyeshadow palette.

A safe bet is to choose something with natural, earthy shades that look good with any outfit or style, like Scott Barnes Snatural N°1, Shimmering Sands and Tequila Sunrise.


If you take only a couple of products with you, mascara should definitely be one of them. Whether you’re doing a full face or a quick polish before going out, mascara will enhance and frame your eyes for that little bit of “pop.”

Make sure the mascara you choose fits your vacation agenda. If you’re going to have busy, active days, your mascara should be able to last all day without smudging or flaking. If you’ll be hitting the surf, make sure it’s waterproof. For travel-ready lashes, go with Scott Barnes maXXX Out or Pumped Up.


Flossy glossy lip gloss

Again, less is more when you’re on the go. A moisturizing SPF lip balm (tint optional) and a single versatile shade of lipstick is really all you need. A good tip is to choose a relatively natural looking shade that can look good with all your vacation outfits, like Lip Fetish Matte in Keep It Coral or Commando. If you absolutely must have multiple lip colors to choose from, go with a compact lip palette, Scott’s Flossy Glossy Trio is the way to go here.


Simplifying is the overall goal for travel makeup, but that doesn’t mean applying everything with the same brush (or your fingers!). Pack a small selection of four to six commonly used makeup brushes, like a fluffy powder brush, a basic eyeshadow brush, a blending brush, and an angled liner brush.

If you don’t have a good set of travel brushes, the Scott Barnes Travel Brush Set has everything you’ll need. The five-piece kit has brushes for powder, highlighter, eyeshadow, blending and smudging, plus a protective travel canister.

Learn More Helpful Makeup Tips

Want to take your makeup artistry to the next level? Explore Scott Barnes online for even more handy advice and effective beauty tricks.